\ ˈdärk How to pronounce dark (audio) \
darker; darkest

Definition of dark

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : devoid or partially devoid of light : not receiving, reflecting, transmitting, or radiating light a dark room
b : transmitting only a portion of light dark glasses
2a : wholly or partially black dark clothing
b of a color : of low or very low lightness dark blue
c : being less light in color than other substances of the same kind dark rum
3a : arising from or showing evil traits or desires : evil the dark powers that lead to war
b : dismal, gloomy had a dark view of the future
c : lacking knowledge or culture : unenlightened a dark period in history
d : relating to grim or depressing circumstances dark humor
4a : not clear to the understanding
b : not known or explored because of remoteness the darkest reaches of the continent
5 : intense in color, coloring, or pigmentation : not light or fair dark hair a dark complexion
6 : secret kept his plans dark
7 : possessing depth and richness a dark voice
8 : closed to the public the theater is dark in the summer



Definition of dark (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : a place or time of little or no light : night, nightfall get home before dark
b : absence of light : darkness afraid of the dark
2a : a color of low or very low lightness : a dark or deep color usually plural a painter who uses a lot of darks
b darks plural : clothing that is dark in color separated the darks and the lights before starting the laundry
in the dark
1 : in secrecy most of his dealings were done in the dark
2 : in ignorance kept the public in the dark about the agreement
go dark
1 : to become dark The room suddenly went dark.
2a : to stop operating or functioning : to shut down Most Salt Lake City restaurants go dark on Sundays …— Kurt Repanshek Andy Beal was one of 220 million subscribers to Skype … who saw the service go dark on Aug. 16.— Stephen Baker In the end, the heart stops, the cells die, the neurons go dark— Joshua Ferris
b communications : to stop broadcasting or transmitting : to go off-line The roosters were just beginning to crow in that lost hour before dawn when Lt. Col. Steve Russell of the Army's 4th Infantry Division ordered his men to "go dark" and roll their Humvees up to the edge of a lone farmhouse here.— William Booth


darked; darking; darks

Definition of dark (Entry 3 of 3)

intransitive verb

obsolete : to grow dark (see dark entry 1)

transitive verb

: to make dark

Other Words from dark


darkish \ ˈdär-​kish How to pronounce dark (audio) \ adjective
darkly adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for dark


obscure, dark, vague, enigmatic, cryptic, ambiguous, equivocal mean not clearly understandable. obscure implies a hiding or veiling of meaning through some inadequacy of expression or withholding of full knowledge. obscure poems dark implies an imperfect or clouded revelation often with ominous or sinister suggestion. muttered dark hints of revenge vague implies a lack of clear formulation due to inadequate conception or consideration. a vague sense of obligation enigmatic stresses a puzzling, mystifying quality. enigmatic occult writings cryptic implies a purposely concealed meaning. cryptic hints of hidden treasure ambiguous applies to language capable of more than one interpretation. an ambiguous directive equivocal applies to language left open to differing interpretations with the intention of deceiving or evading. moral precepts with equivocal phrasing

Examples of dark in a Sentence

Adjective She sat in the dark room alone. Soon it will be dark enough to see the stars. It was a dark and stormy night. Dark clouds of smoke were coming from the windows. She's wearing a dark suit to the interview. a man wearing dark clothing You've got dark circles under your eyes this morning. dark spots on the skin Noun He's 12 years old and still afraid of the dark. The burglars hid in the dark between the two buildings. He bought the kids special rings that glow in the dark. We'd better get home before dark. They waited until after dark to begin their escape. He uses lots of darks in his decorating. Wash the lights and the darks separately.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Glytone favorites—the Brightening Complex to clear dark spots or the Acne Clearing Toner to help control stubborn breakouts—use code BF25 to receive 25% off sitewide. Kiana Murden, Vogue, 26 Nov. 2021 This serum addresses discoloration and dark spots using A-list antioxidant vitamin C, which encourages cell turnover and leaves behind a more even skin tone. Jennifer Hussein, Allure, 25 Nov. 2021 With Kansas State up next, the streak is expected to hit eight before a long, cold, dark and dismal offseason in Austin. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, 21 Nov. 2021 Shadar Logoth, like the rest of the computerized ruins the group passes on their journey, is duly impressive, evoking the untold centuries over which the story of light and dark has so far unfolded. Sean T. Collins, Vulture, 20 Nov. 2021 Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool—ideally between 60 to 67° F for a peaceful snooze. Lauren Krouse, SELF, 19 Nov. 2021 The mice were shown many sequences of Gabor patches, which consist of stripes of light and dark. Quanta Magazine, 15 Nov. 2021 To add, most chocolate bars are offered in dark, milk and white chocolate variations. Gerry Frank | For The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, 13 Nov. 2021 The striking two-story blends stone, glass and both light and dark hues. Lauren Beale, Forbes, 12 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun For those on the fence (or in the dark), an empty store nearby has been transformed into a Fat Bernie’s Pinball Palace. Los Angeles Times, 26 Nov. 2021 The rest of the France Football staff are kept in the dark. New York Times, 26 Nov. 2021 The 2021 model is known for maintaining on-screen details in the dark through its Mini LEDs and Quantum Matrix Technology. Anna Tingley, Variety, 24 Nov. 2021 Green describes how this murderer was able to operate in the dark for so long and, crucially, sheds light on the victims whose stories have been forgotten. Vulture Editors, Vulture, 23 Nov. 2021 While McConnell carefully crafted her sign ahead of the concert, Lisa said she was left in the dark. Joelle Goldstein, PEOPLE.com, 23 Nov. 2021 Barriers to financial or physical independence, as well as social and economic injustices keep crimes against the disabled in the dark, activists say. Kiara Alfonseca, ABC News, 21 Nov. 2021 Colorado's Mesa Verde National Park is being recognized for what can only be seen in the dark. Emily D'alessandro, CBS News, 20 Nov. 2021 Former executives for Walgreens and Safeway, testified that they were kept in the dark that the company relied on third-party devices, rather than its own, to analyze patient blood. Sara Ashley O'brien, CNN, 19 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb For guests who want to switch up drinks between courses or as the night evolves, Milano suggests that hosts serve drinks in progression, going from light to dark. Elva Ramirez, Forbes, 27 Oct. 2021 Again to the southeast after dark a now 83%-lit Moon will drift about 4º below Saturn. Jamie Carter, Forbes, 12 Sep. 2021 Despite governmental bans on skin lightening products and a growing global movement to embrace one’s natural beauty—from nappy hair (natural and chemical free) to dark skin—the covert business of lightening skin color thrives all the same. Kang-chun Cheng, Quartz, 11 Aug. 2021 The result leaves our kids less engaged and our recreation centers dark through much of the winter, and with limited hours throughout the summer. Barb Schlaefer, Star Tribune, 6 June 2021 Outside attorneys representing the company have said in recent motions to dismiss the lawsuits that FirstEnergy's actions regarding its contributions to dark money groups controlled by former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder were legal. Mark Gillispie, Star Tribune, 27 May 2021 It is formulated to cure everything from fine lines to dark circles to puffiness. Kaitlyn Yarborough, Southern Living, 24 May 2021 Blue spans the spectrum, from light on the ceiling to dark on the sofa. Monika Eyers, Better Homes & Gardens, 15 Apr. 2021 Easter also earned a first place award in the Visual Arts/Architecture Feature category for her article, Slavery documents from Southern saltmakers bring light to dark history. Los Angeles Times, 14 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dark.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of dark


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for dark

Adjective, Noun, and Verb

Middle English derk, from Old English deorc; akin to Old High German tarchannen to hide

Learn More About dark

Time Traveler for dark

Time Traveler

The first known use of dark was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near dark



dark adaptation

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Statistics for dark

Last Updated

29 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dark.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dark. Accessed 1 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for dark



English Language Learners Definition of dark

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: having very little or no light
: not light in color : of a color that is closer to black than white
: having more black than white : not light



English Language Learners Definition of dark (Entry 2 of 2)

: a state in which no light can be seen
: a place where little or no light can be seen
: the time of day when night begins : the time when the sky becomes dark for the night


\ ˈdärk How to pronounce dark (audio) \
darker; darkest

Kids Definition of dark

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : without light or without much light a dark closet
2 : not light in color My dog has a dark coat.
3 : not bright and cheerful : gloomy Don't look on the dark side of things.
4 : arising from or characterized by evil The villain revealed his dark side.



Kids Definition of dark (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : absence of light : darkness I'm not afraid of the dark.
2 : a place or time of little or no light We got home before dark.

More from Merriam-Webster on dark

Nglish: Translation of dark for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dark for Arabic Speakers


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